Nudging your way to less office noise and increased productivity
Are you getting distracted by colleagues talking on the phone or having conversations across the office?! If you are in →
The zone is where it is at. That is where the magic happens, where you are the most productive and… yes! Happy. Getting there on demand is hard, but with a little planning, the zone may not be out of reach.
The Hungarian psychology professor, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, wrote of the intersection between productivity, creativity, and pure happiness, the place where workers and athletes alike flock to produce impressive results. Flow, the zone, the groove, it is all the same: it is the magnetic place where you are at your best, and where you produce high quality and high value work.
I do not get to sail much at the moment, so I do not reach the athletic Zen nearly as often as I would like. A couple of weeks ago, I spun records as a guest DJ in a Lucerne club as my not-so-secret alter-ego, DJ Nordic. That evening, I could certainly recognize the exhilarating flow I used to feel when working on the boat with the team in high winds. The music, the happy dancing crowd, and the ambiance made the tracks and the time fly by. It was great – and it is good business, too!
Large and innovative companies like Google have made a science out of creating spots where employees can achieve work flow together or alone, playing with colors, shapes, themes and space to create a place where this magic can happen. For example, Google has invested in ski gondolas in the Zurich office, a pub-like meeting room in Dublin and sidewalk cafe in Istanbul, and they claim that the product of their HR or People Operations Department efforts can be measured in double digits. I am sure they are right.
Most companies, however, do not have the budget, nor the headroom to build ski gondolas. Workers must settle for the occasional quiet room or quiet corner and in some cases, working from home or outside of the office in a coffee shop, for example, is the only option to obtain the elusive flow. I have found that there are some – I would not call them short cuts because that would be selling the emotional and physical journey of reaching flow short – but there are some guiding principles that I find can help me get there:
Flow is all about an emotional state of undiluted focus – and it is not easy to attain, but it can be practiced and it gets easier as you go. I hear meditation is good as well, but have not tried it myself. There are plenty of paths to the zone and you will have to find yours. Once you get there, it will be worth it. I will upload some of the tracks from my DJ gig last week – if you are the music type, you can catch them here.